Central Africa 979 CE

In east Africa, the clearing of forests by generations of farmers had by this date created more open landscapes, favouring a cattle herding lifestyle. Pastoral peoples came in from southern Sudan and settled, probably ...

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What is happening in Central Africa in 979CE

In east Africa, the clearing of forests by generations of farmers had by this date created more open landscapes, favouring a cattle herding lifestyle. Pastoral peoples came in from southern Sudan and settled, probably as a ruling class, amongst Bantu farming populations in the Lake Victoria/Tanganyika region. The mixing of the two populations seems to have stimulated marked advances in technological development. At the same time, more, and larger, towns became established along the Indian Ocean coast. These towns became home to a mixed Arab-African culture, later called “Swahili”. From them, trade routes spread further and further inland, bringing with them new ideas and techniques.

Rippling out from the Lakes region, there are signs of late Iron-age culture, with new farming techniques (for example, terracing), more effective weapons for fishing, hunting and war, more sophisticated textiles and pottery, increased trade and greater class differentiation. Politically, this period sees the start of the formation of powerful chiefdoms, to be followed shortly by full-blown kingdoms.

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